School vacations are just around the corner for some and for some they have already started. Parents along with their kids have already started planning for the vacation. Yes, a family trip most probably would be on the list but what else on the remaining days? How do we get the kids engaged for the remaining days? How many of us keep yelling at kids to stop them from doing this and that? Let us confess that most of us do it, some time or the other. But let’s not forget that they are a bundle of energy and suppressing them will not do good to anybody.
All we can do is, channelize their energy in the right direction. Instead of telling them ‘What-not-to-do’, let us start telling them ‘What-to-do’? And if we don’t, then be assured that they will get engaged with something or somebody that is easy to access and fun-to-be-with. Nobody today is oblivious of the fact that the most engaging thing one can think of is the mobile phone. Gone are the golden days, when vacations meant more stories from our grandparents – helping us to be more wise and grounded, spending time with cousins & strengthening the bonds with family and friends through games. We played plenty of games – chess, carrom, skipping, saap seedi (Snake and the Ladder), ludo, dog and the bone, langdi (hopscotch), kho-kho, chupan chupai (hide and seek), statue, pakda-pakdi, dongar ya pani (land or water), ghar-ghar, and the list is endless; it would be unfair, if I do not mention gully cricket. Already nostalgic?
Today, very conveniently most of these games are packed in one small box, in our all-time favourite gadget, ‘MOBILE PHONE’. And the saddest part is that the smartphones might make them smart but not street smart.
The games on their cell phone do not teach:
What they missed as Generation-Y kids:
Those times, when one needs to calmly count the blessings instead of complaining.
The playground will teach them, to be more patient while waiting for their turn to come. Let them realize – how much ever hard they try, there are waiting-periods when they just need to wait calmly and patiently; sometimes luck does not favor and sometimes the timing is just not right.
A beautiful concept that teaches compassion!
They will learn, to be more adjustable and compassionate while accommodating a little child in their team as a ‘Kaccha Limbu’ (which translates in English as Raw lemon)- ‘one who is too small to understand the rules of the game but is still allowed to play without getting defeated’.
Encourage and help your team members to win.
In the game – ‘Ludo’, it is important that all your four pawns, return home safely. One cannot win just because 1 Pawn has reached home. Such an awesome lesson – ‘You win only if your entire team wins.
All Round Development:
Let them rack their brains while trying to save their King on the Chessboard and their Coins from the snake while playing Snake-Ladder. Let them hit the playground and grow naturally instead of hitting the gym.
In his study of play with objects, and problem-solving (Sylva, Bruner and Genova, 1976) two groups of matched 3-5-year-olds were presented with a practical problem to solve. Beforehand, however, one group was given the opportunity to play with the objects involved, while the other group were ‘taught’ how to use the objects in ways which would help solve the problem.
The results, were that the children who had the experience of playing beforehand with the objects were more inventive in devising strategies to solve the problem and persevered longer if their initial attempts did not work, ultimately leading to higher levels of full or partial success.
Smoothening their journey might not be in our control, but at least we can equip them with the right tools. Ultimately, these are the learnings that will help them to get ready and face the world, which is not always rosy and not always can we be around them.
Let them grow physically, mentally and spiritually. Get them to chant and meditate. Get them to be a part of social-serving groups and spiritual groups. Social service can make them either ‘humble and polite’ or ‘proud and arrogant’ based on the intention they do it with. Let them be more humble and grateful for what they have and not be egoistic.
“As a part of Social Service, they can teach the lesser-blessed kids to write, read, sing or paint. Play time gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.” – Fred Rogers
Today’s generation listens to their companions more than the family, so the best you can do is make them aware about the right surroundings and companions. can be umpteen number of ways to engage them rightly; not one size fits all. Easier said than done, if we start thinking today, maybe by next vacation we will have better ways to engage them. I would love to hear back your views and ideas in the comment section below.
See you soon!